The Official Blog of Graceland

Welcome to the official blog of Elvis Presley’s Graceland! You can take Elvis-inspired quizzes, get first-looks on events here at Graceland and how-to guides on everything you need to know about Elvis and his home. Like Elvis, we come with a little southern charm!

55 Years of “Girls! Girls! Girls!”

“The Swingin’-est ELVIS + Girls (Girls Girls) + Songs (Lots of Them) – Who Could Ask for Anything More?” That’s what the poster says for Elvis’ 1962 hit musical, “Girls! Girls! Girls!” – and the movie certainly delivered on that promise. Hawaii became a state in 1959, and Elvis was quick to celebrate the lovely state with “Blue Hawaii” in 1961 and “Girls! Girls Girls!” in 1962, followed by “Paradise, Hawaiian Style” in ’66. “Girls! Girls! Girls” was released nationally on November 21, 1962 –  making this year its 55th anniversary. A few of the working titles for this movie include “A Girl in Every Port,” “Welcome Aboard” and “Gumbo Ya-Ya.” Elvis stars in the film alongside Laurel Goodwin, Stella Stevens and Jeremy Slate. Elvis stars as Ross Carpenter, a sailor and Hawaiian fishing guide. He wants to buy a boat, but his plans slow down when he becomes involved with both Robin (Stella Stevens), a young singer, and the sweet-natured Laurel (Laurel Goodwin). His romantic rival, Wesley (Jeremy Slate), owns the boat he wants – and he’s chasing Laurel, too. Jeremy Slate also had a role in “G.I. Blues.” Stella Stevens was, like Elvis, a Mississippi native. She got her start in modeling and acting after moving to Memphis to go to college. Laurel Goodwin shared her memories of working with Elvis at Elvis Week 2017. Robert Strauss, who stars in “Girls! Girls! Girls!” as Sam, appears in another Elvis film, “Frankie and Johnny.” The three Ling children were played by siblings Ginny Tiu, Elizabeth Tiu and Alexander Tiu. Another sibling, Vicky Tiu, also starred with Elvis in “It Happened at the World’s Fair.” As with many of his films, you can spot Elvis’ friends and band members in the background. Legendary drummer Hal Blaine, who played on many of Elvis’ hits, is in the film as – of course – a drummer in the lounge band. Elvis’ stand-in, Lance Le Gault, plays the bass in the band. And Allan Fortas can be spotted catching a fish, while Red West plays bongos on a fishing boat.   One of Elvis’ least favorite tunes on the soundtrack was “Song of the Shrimp.” To make his star happy, Col. Tom Parker found a gem of a song – “Return to Sender” – and it was included in the movie’s soundtrack. When he wasn’t on the set, Elvis could often be found...
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‘Jailhouse Rock’ – The Trivia Game

Just last week, we celebrated the 60th anniversary of one of the most iconic moments in Elvis’ long, legendary career: “Jailhouse Rock.” We’re keeping the festivities going this week with a “Jailhouse Rock” trivia game. How well do you know the movie? Find out if you’ll be dancing to the jailhouse rock or if you’ll be sentenced to a year in jail (just kidding). If you love playing Elvis trivia games, check out these games on the Graceland Blog: Get an A in Elvis Elvis’ 1957 Elvis 101 Graceland Trivia Elvis’ 1956 Elvis’ Television...
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Flippy, Real Flippy: ‘Jailhouse Rock’ at 60

One of Elvis’ earliest and most prolific pop culture-changing moments happened 60 years ago this month: “Jailhouse Rock” was released on November 8, 1957. “Jailhouse Rock” was Elvis’ third movie, but thanks to the electrifying dance scene, Elvis’ leading man status and the iconic inmate costume, the film is one of the most famous Presley pictures. It’s more than a highlight of time in the movie business; it’s one of the most well-known and beloved moments of his entire career. In “Jailhouse Rock,” Elvis stars as Vince Everett, a construction worker who is sentenced to jail after accidentally killing a man in a bar fight. After his release from prison, Vince becomes a singing sensation, thanks to his country star cellmate, Hunk (Mickey Shaughnessy) and Peggy (Judy Tyler) who helps manage his career. Elvis plays the part well, taking Vince from a young man with a hot temper to a rebellious rock star. Fans still swoon at Elvis’ most famous lines from the movie, like “It ain’t tactics honey – it’s just the beast in me.” The famous dance scene is often considered the first “music video.” Choreographer Alex Romero had originally planned for the scene to be full of smooth, Fred Astair-type dancing, but of course, Elvis is Elvis – not Fred Astair. He asked Elvis to perform a few songs as if he was performing on stage at a concert. After watching Elvis’ natural dance moves, he redesigned the entire number. That dance sequence would impact the film in more ways than one. While filming the number, Elvis aspirated a cap off one of his teeth, and it lodged in his lung. He was hospitalized, and his doctor had to part his vocal cords to retrieve it from his lung. Thankfully, Elvis’ golden voice was not harmed, but the incident did influence the movie – that’s why Vince suffers a throat injury toward the end of the film. Elvis was released from the hospital in California the same day as his parents moved into their new home: Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee. When filming wrapped, Elvis boarded a train for Memphis. He was excited to see Graceland, so he left the train in Louisiana and rented a car to drive the rest of the way to Memphis. He spent his first night at Graceland on June 26, 1957. Elvis’ “Jailhouse Rock” co-star Judy Tyler was killed in a...
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‘Elvis on Tour’ Turns 45

Elvis Presley’s award-winning, final film, “Elvis on Tour,” was released 45 years ago this week. “Elvis on Tour” covers Elvis’ 15-city tour in the United States in April 1972. It’s Elvis’ second concert documentary, a follow-up to the 1970 documentary, “Elvis: That’s the Way It Is.” “Elvis on Tour” features concert, rehearsal and backstage footage, interviews with Elvis and his father, Vernon, plus footage of fans’ reactions at various venues. There are also clips from Elvis’ appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show and Elvis’ movies. The concert footage included in the documentary was shot in Hampton Roads, Virginia; Richmond, Virginia; San Antonio, Texas; and Greensboro, North Carolina. Robert Abel and Pierre Adidge directed “Elvis on Tour,” and Martin Scorsese worked on the movie, too, overseeing the montage sequences. Fans well-versed in everything Elvis can have fun picking out members of Elvis’ TCB Band, like Ronnie Tutt, James Burton and Glen D. Hardin; members of Elvis’ entourage, such as Jerry Schilling and Charlie Hodge; and the king’s back-up vocal groups, The Sweet Inspirations and J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet. Songs included in “Elvis on Tour” include “A Big Hunk O’ Love,” “Never Been to Spain,” “Polk Salad Annie,” “Burning Love,” “An American Trilogy,” “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and “Love Me Tender.” “Elvis on Tour” was a hit upon its release on November 1, 1972, hitting No. 13 on Variety’s National Box Office Survey. Critics loved the documentary, too: the movie won the 1972 Golden Globe Award for Best Documentary. “Elvis on Tour” is a fan favorite, as it showcases Elvis’ powerful live concerts while giving a bit of insight into the man in the jumpsuit. If you’re an Elvis fan in the UK, be sure to check out the new “Elvis on Tour” exhibition at The O2 in London. The exhibition will cover Elvis’ tours from 1969-1977, and will feature artifacts such as jumpsuits, guitars, tour trunks still filled with silk scarves, costume sketches by Elvis’ designer Bill Belew and more. Get your tickets to the exhibition now. If you love Elvis’ music, concerts and movies, the Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum at Elvis Presley’s Memphis at Graceland will soon be your favorite, too. You can see artifacts from Elvis’ film and music careers, including jumpsuits, movie costumes, awards and much more. Learn more about the man himself when you visit Graceland and see how the king lived...
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Step Up Your Selfie Game at Elvis Presley’s Graceland

When you visit a location as iconic as Elvis Presley’s Graceland, you have to take time to take the perfect selfie. After all, what’s better than having your photo made in front of the king’s castle, or with his gorgeous Pink Cadillac, or with his Gold Records? We love seeing the creative photos and selfies that guests have snapped at Graceland – in fact, we’ve dedicated several past blog posts (here and here) to the best shots taken here. But back in March, we opened up our new exhibit and entertainment complex, Elvis Presley’s Memphis, which also opened up a new world for selfies. In this week’s blog, we’ll take a look at the best places to snap a selfie at Elvis Presley’s Memphis – and at Graceland, too, because there is no shortage of places to take a great photo at Elvis’ beloved mansion. As soon as you enter Elvis Presley’s Memphis, you’re greeted with our “Welcome to Graceland” sign. We love that this sign alone makes fans want to jump with joy!       Once inside Elvis Presley’s Memphis, there are a ton of great locations for a photo, especially in the new car museum, Presley Motors, or in Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum, where you can find Elvis’ jumpsuits, awards, promotional photos, early albums and much more.           But of all of the wonderful places for a selfie at Elvis Presley’s Memphis, the most-photographed place is, hands down, a red, light-up ELVIS sign in Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum. This sign brings out everyone’s inner rock star. Check out a few of these incredibly fun photos:           Elvis Presley’s Memphis is great, but you still have to take the perfect selfie at the king’s mansion across the street. Here are a few of our favorite recent selfies snapped at Graceland.             And finally, don’t forget to… We want to see YOUR photos next! Start planning your Graceland experience now – just go to Graceland.com to get your tickets, follow us on Instagram, and when you tag your perfect Graceland selfie, tag it with #Graceland – and you may see yourself on Graceland.com or on a future Graceland Blog post. Happy...
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Elvis Presley’s “Clambake” at 50

“You just said the magic word.” “’Clambake’?” “Yeah!” Elvis Presley’s colorful, swinging 60s romp “Clambake” was released 50 years ago this year. In the film, Elvis stars as Scott, the son of a millionaire who’s looking to make it on his own without his dad’s help. During a drive to Florida, Scott meets Tom (Will Hutchins), a waterskiing instructor, and the guys strike up a conversation. The guys decide to switch identities – Scott can find out if people will love him for who he is instead of his money, while Tom can live the high life as the son of a millionaire. It’s not long before Scott is tangled up in a love triangle between the beautiful Dianne (Shelley Fabares) and James J. Jamison III (Bill Bixby). Dianne has eyes for Jamison and his money, but Scott wants her for himself. As it often happens in Elvis movies, his character gets the girl in the end – after some songs, fights and, in this film, an exciting boat race. “Clambake” was Elvis’ 25th movie. Elvis began shooting “Clambake” in March 1967, although filming was delayed for about a month after Elvis fell and suffered a mild concussion. “Clambake” premiered in October 1967, but it wasn’t released nationally until November 22, 1967. The original title of the movie was “Too Big for Texas.”   While a lot of the movie was filmed in and around Miami, Elvis’ scenes were filmed in Los Angeles. A double was used for the scenes in Miami. Actual footage from the Orange Bowl International Power Boat Regatta was used for the film’s boat race. “Clambake” marks Shelley Fabares’ third and final Elvis film, having starred alongside Elvis in “Girl Happy” and “Spinout.” She also starred as Mary on “The Donna Reed Show.” Bill Bixby also starred in another Elvis film: “Speedway.” Bixby enjoyed roles on shows such as “My Favorite Martian” and “The Magician,” and he is best known for his role as Dr. David Banner on the CBS superhero show “The Incredible Hulk.” Another TV star appears in this movie: Flipper. Flipper the dolphin (whose real name was Susie), from the NBC show “Flipper,” has a cameo in “Clambake.” Tell us your favorite scenes and songs from “Clambake” in the comments! While some rock ‘n’ roll stars have made movies, no one did it quite like Elvis. Explore his movie career – as well as...
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Get an ‘A’ in Elvis – Trivia Game

Could you ace a class on the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll? Find out with our Elvis trivia game, and see if you can get an ‘A’ in Elvis. And don’t forget: to become an Elvis expert, you have to walk in his footsteps at Graceland. Make your plans to visit...
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The King’s New Clothes – Elvis Presley and Lansky Brothers

They say you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have. A young Elvis Presley did just that, with the help of Lansky Brothers Men’s Clothing Store. Elvis began shopping at this Memphis store when he was still in high school. He wanted to be an entertainer, and he followed many of the city’s local entertainers into Lansky Brothers. It wasn’t long before Elvis was dressing just like the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll he always knew he’d be. Lansky Brothers Men’s Clothing Store began in 1946, when Samuel Lewis Lansky, a Russian immigrant, purchased a store at 126 Beale Street for $125. He bought the store for his sons, Bernard and Guy. The store that had previously inhabited that location sold women’s clothes, so the Lanskys tossed the women’s wear and opted to sell what was readily available – army surplus clothing, thanks to the end of World War II. Once that trend died down, the men found their true calling – selling fashion for men. Bernard and Guy often traveled to California and New York to check out and buy the latest styles, which caused a stir back home in Memphis – no one had seen such bold colors and patterns. As Bernard said, the store sold clothes in vibrant “Life Savers” colors, like red, orange, yellow, green and purple. The Lansky Brothers display windows were always a sight to see, full of flashy, eye-catching designs. The store became a hit with local entertainers, church groups and bands. The guys focused on selling quality clothes at a fair price – in fact, the store claimed it was “just around the corner from high prices.” Bernard Lansky first noticed a young Elvis Presley checking out the store’s window displays in the spring of 1952. He invited Elvis to come in and shop, but the young king declined, saying he didn’t have any money. As the story goes, Elvis told him, “When I get rich, I’ll buy you out,” and Bernard replied, “Do me a favor: Don’t buy me out, just buy from me.” Elvis made good on that deal. Soon, he returned to the store to buy a shirt for $3.95. When prom season arrived, Elvis asked the tailors at Lansky’s to create a unique suit for him – one with a pink coat, black pants and a pink and black cummerbund. The pink...
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Elvis Presley’s #1 Hits – Part 3

One of the most breathtaking sights at Elvis Presley’s Graceland is the wall of Gold, Diamond and Platinum Records hanging in the Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum. It’s an entire wall full of awards – and there are even more awards on the surrounding walls. This year on the Graceland Blog, we’re celebrating Elvis’ Number 1 hits. Check out part one and part two, and now, here’s part three. “Hound Dog” You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog Cryin’ all the time Well, you ain’t never caught a rabbit you ain’t no friend of mine Originally, this song was performed by a woman, as she told off her “hound dog” of a man. This song, however, was written by two men – Mike Stoller and Jerry Leiber. They penned the tune for blues artist Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton, whose 1953 original landed at No. 1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart in the US. Rufus Thomas recorded “Bear Cat,” an “answer song” written by Sam Phillips, also in 1953. Freddie and the Bellhops recorded a male-perspective version of “Hound Dog” in 1955, and the group performed it in 1956 in Las Vegas. Elvis caught one of the group’s performances and loved their version; soon, he was also performing it live. Elvis recorded “Hound Dog” on July 2, 1956, at RCA Studios in New York, just one day after singing the tune to a Basset Hound on the Steve Allen Show. “Hound Dog” was recorded at the same session just prior to “Don’t Be Cruel,” so all of the same musicians were present, except Shorty Long, who was running late. Gordon Stoker filled in for him on piano. The Jordanaires provided background vocals and the clapping. (Learn more about “Don’t Be Cruel” from part 1 of this series.) It proved difficult to capture the excitement of Elvis’ live “Hound Dog” performances, and it took 31 takes for Elvis to be truly happy with the recording. “Hound Dog,” with “Don’t Be Cruel,” arrived in stores a few weeks after they were recorded. The two tracks were equally popular and fought for the top spot on the charts. “Hound Dog” has been covered numerous times by the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimi Hendrix (look out for artifacts from the legend in the new Icons exhibit at Graceland), James Taylor, Little Richard and many more. “Good Luck Charm” Come on and be...
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Animal Instinct: Elvis Presley’s Pets

In “Tiger Man,” Elvis Presley sings that he’s the “king of the jungle” – and that’s a pretty accurate description of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Elvis loved animals of all kinds. He had many pets during his lifetime – so many, in fact, that it would be a pretty difficult to name them all. We’ll stick to a few of the favorites for this week’s blog. When Elvis purchased Graceland in 1957, he bought not only the house, but 13.8 acres of the surrounding land. That provided for a nice little farm for the Presley family. Elvis’ mother, Gladys, had some chickens, and Elvis owned a turkey named Bowtie. Vernon, Elvis’ father, raised hogs, and he smoked and cured pork in the old pump house that Elvis, years later, would turn into a temporary makeshift firing range (you can tour this building at Graceland). Elvis was given some donkeys, but because the fence around the property wasn’t finished yet, he kept the donkeys in his new, empty swimming pool. The Presley family added even more animals to their farm when Elvis, Vernon and friend Lamar Fike drove a limousine to Germantown, just outside of Memphis, to buy more chickens and ducks. Lamar sat in the back of the limo with the birds to try to control them, but they flew around and made a mess. They cleaned and fumigated the limo, but it was never the same, and the vehicle was eventually replaced. And speaking of birds, Elvis once had a mynah bird that would repeat the excuses it heard about why Elvis couldn’t come to the phone: “Elvis is asleep,” “Elvis isn’t available,” “Elvis isn’t here.” One day the bird began repeating all of the phrases, over and over, which Elvis thought was hilarious. Australian fans sent Elvis a wallaby – twice. Once was while he was filming “Jailhouse Rock” in 1957, and the second time was in 1962. He donated each of the animals to the Memphis Zoo. Elvis also had a few peacocks, but they scratched at their reflections in the shiny paint of his cars – so they, too, went to live at the Memphis Zoo. Elvis owned several horses throughout this lifetime – in fact, you can read more about them here on a past Graceland Blog post. His favorite horses included Rising Sun, a golden palomino quarter horse and a Tennessee Walking Horses named Bear. A...
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